“Peanuts” Brann

Created by Benton Braden

WILLIE “PEANUTS” BRANN was the “goober eating gumshoe” who appeared in twenty or so stories in the pulp magazine Thrilling Detective (no relation) in the forties.

The peanut munching dick (he claimed they helped him think) and his “right hand man and pal” Maxey Gates were the top ops for the Cole Agency, and Willie is generally considered an all-right guy, “plump and rather short” with a face that was a “mask of cheerful innocence.” And he was no office-bound doofus–his “pair of gats” allegedly “brought terror to . . . the underworld.”

The author was Benton Braden, who published well over a hundred stories in the pulps from the thirties to the fifties. He got his start in 1933 by placing a story in Street & Smith’s Clues All Star Detective Stories, and soon moved over to the Standard line, which included Thrilling Detective and Popular Detective. Braden had several series going, included the Mr. Finnis series, about John Kent, a wealthy young swell who secretly battled crime. Another featured Andrew Dart, the “Percentage Kid,” while yet another followed P.I.  Johnny “Eight-ball” Pike


  • “Dynamite Trail” (March 1941, Thrilling Detective)
  • “Blackmail” (April 1941, Thrilling Detective)
  • “The Murderous Deb” (May 1941, Thrilling Detective)
  • “Investment in Murder” (June 1941, Thrilling Detective)
  • “Killer Key” (July 1941, Thrilling Detective)
  • “The Extortion Murders” (September 1941, Thrilling Detective)
  • “The Missing Bride” (October 1941, Thrilling Detective)
  • “Four Motive Kills” (April 1942, Thrilling Detective)
  • “Smoke Out” (October 1942, Thrilling Detective)
  • “Last Word to Berlin” (January 1943, Thrilling Detective)
  • “Ticket to Germany” (February 1943, Thrilling Detective)
  • “Death Stalks the General” (April 1943, Thrilling Detective)
  • “Descent of a Killer” (July 1943, Thrilling Detective)
  • “The Showboat Murder” (September 1943, Thrilling Detective)
  • “The Murderous Mermaid” (November 1943, Thrilling Detective)
  • “Men Die in Texas” (January 1944, Thrilling Detective)
  • Signals of Death” (April 1944, Thrilling Detective)
  • “Murder Cooperation” (October 1944, Thrilling Detective)
  • “Murder Is No Technicality” (January 1945, Thrilling Detective)
  • “A Shroud for Mr. Hyde” (February 1945, Thrilling Detective)
  • “Diamond Grab” (May 1945, Thrilling Detective)


Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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